Thinking about becoming a fitness instructor but need some convincing?
Well, the good news is that I have actually been a fitness instructor in real life so I can tell you exactly why it’s an awesome job from first-hand real-life experience.
By the end of this article, you will know exactly why you should become a fitness instructor.
There are some seriously cool factors to being a fitness instructor, and you don’t always hear about them in most articles like this.
In this post, I am going to list out what I think were some of the major factors that kept me working as a fitness instructor and actually had me coming back to the role after several years of being a personal trainer.
Why become a fitness instructor?
- It’s really not stressful
- It’s genuinely fun
- You will never have two days the same
- There’s a bunch of career routes to take
- It’s a great way to learn about the industry
- You get paid to talk to people
- Your day flies by
- You’ll learn tons about fitness
- People genuinely listen to your advice
- No taking work home with you
It’s really not stressful
I’ve worked in offices, call centres and even as a shrubbery assistant in a garden centre, and I can tell you, fitness instruction was the least stressful of all of these (people can get surprisingly aggressive over plants).
Once you have learnt what you need in your courses and got your qualifications, that’s pretty much as hard as this job gets.
You’ll go in each day and know pretty much exactly what you have to do. Now that might sound boring to some people (I personally loved it because I have OCD and love organisation), but there will always be people asking you questions about fitness that will make you think and learn new things, so it’s not boring at all.
You will have great nights out, have a bunch of fun, and I can count on one hand the number of days that I would consider “stressful”.
It’s genuinely fun
You always see jobs adverts saying that a role in customer services is fun and rewarding, but it isn’t is it?
In reality, these jobs are usually fairly mundane, and it’s usually a bad sign that an advert has to try to convince you a job will be fun. Fitness doesn’t need to try to convince you of this at all, because it really is fun.
Think about it, you got into teaching exercise because you enjoy it, and as an instructor, you are surrounded by nothing but fitness for your entire shift.
You’ll be teaching classes to people who are there completely voluntarily, they actually want to be taught by you and will hang off your every word.
The rest of your fitness team will likely be the same age as you and again like your managers, will have something in common with you, and you’ll get to make friends with and learn from personal trainers.
Even the less glamorous side of the role such as cleaning the changing rooms and equipment really isn’t that bad. I used to put my headphones in and listen to music whilst I was doing it, it was great!
You will never have two days the same
Working in an office can feel like the same day stuck on repeat until you wake up and you’re suddenly fifty wondering where the last thirty years went.
Fitness just isn’t like that at all, yes, you will have somewhat of a routine each day, but you will always be teaching different classes to different people, going on courses and learning new skills and answering different questions each day.
At some point, you will probably be asked to help out on the front desk (reception) and to even help out with some sales and managerial tasks. That’s why when you walk into a day as a fitness instructor, you really have no idea what you will be walking into (in a good way of course).
Because you are always going on courses and developing your skills, the chances of you feeling stagnant or bored in your role are very unlikely. You get to go on a course, learn some cool new things and then go and start practising them the very next day.
Your days are constantly kept fresh and interesting.
There’s a bunch of career routes to take
You have so much choice as a fitness instructor where you go next, and the cool thing is, you get to try out a bunch of them before you dedicate yourself to one particular path.
If you think you might like working in sales, ask the sales manager if you can practise taking a few prospects through a gym walk and a quick sales chat.
If that doesn’t feel right, why not ask the fitness manager if you can take on a few of their roles to see how you get on and see if it’s something you think you can do? You can also talk to personal training managers, and gym managers to learn about their roles.
It’s very rare in a job that you get to “try before you buy”. You usually have to go for a promotion in a direction that you think might be good and hope that it lives up to your expectations, not in fitness.
It’s a great way to learn about the industry
The fitness industry is huge and always expanding, but where are the best opportunities to grow and develop in it? What are the newest technologies and training styles that you can use to keep things fresh and always be improving your skillset?
These are the sorts of things that you will learn best from being directly involved in it yourself. From talking to other trainers about training styles and systems that are coming out to gathering new ideas from training courses by your employer, you will be one of the first people to know about developments within the industry.
These are skills that you can keep adding to your CV and can sometimes add as continual development points to maintain your REP’s status if you are in the UK.
You get paid to talk to people
If you are a people person, you will really love this point. And pro-tip, it really does help to be a people person if you want to get into fitness, you are around people all day, there’s no escaping them!
If you were constantly being told off at school for talking, the good news is that you are actively encouraged to talk to members as much as possible and even get paid for it.
You will be amazed at how much 1-2-1 time you will get with your members whilst you are teaching them, not just from answering questions here and there about fitness, but in separate private conversations that will help you make genuine connections with people.
If you teach really great classes, are friendly and approachable and make it clear that you are always available for the members, they will start talking to you on a daily basis about all manner of things not even necessarily about fitness. This really helps you build up a rapport with your members which makes teaching them all the more fun.
Your day flies by
You are going to be so busy, gone will be the days of sitting around waiting for something to do when you start in fitness.
If you are a person who gets bored easily and enjoys being on their feet all day, you really should get into fitness. You’ll be helping out on the front desk, teaching a 20 min abs class, tidying the free-weights area and then giving an induction session (as an example). It’s basically impossible to get bored, there isn’t enough time to.
You may be doing an eight-hour shift, but it will feel like it’s half that amount of time. You’ll really wonder where the day has gone as it’s such an active career that there is no time for clock watching.
You’ll learn tons about fitness
The best way to learn something is to completely immerse yourself in it. If you want to learn Spanish quickly, go to Spain, if you want to learn about exercise and fitness, become a fitness instructor.
What you are taught in your course and examinations are really just the basics, there’s also a bunch of stuff you will never really use (how bones and muscles create leverage for example, never gonna come up, trust me).
Whilst working every day in teaching and instructing exercise, you will be asked tons of questions from members, and a lot of these you won’t know the answers to. This is a perfect way to find things to research and learn to be the best instructor you can be.
You will also be surrounded by managers, personal trainers and other fitness staff that have been working for some time in the industry and will be able to answer any questions you have.
You really can’t help but gain an absolute wealth of knowledge from becoming a fitness instructor.
People genuinely listen to your advice
There is something really satisfying about people asking you a question and genuinely wanting to listen to and understand the answer you can give.
As a fitness instructor, you will be the “go-to” person to give advice and teach people, and they will certainly ask you questions. I found the most frequent time I was asked things was after classes, and it’s so cool to be able to know exactly what you are talking about and give a really solid answer to a question you are asked.
It makes you feel really good to know that you have helped someone better their life and their health by helping them with a question they had.
Being an instructor is not just about cleaning changing rooms and putting weights away, people will respect you and appreciate the help you can give them. It’s a great feeling.
No taking work home with you
A bunch of your friends and maybe your parents will be talking about things like how they didn’t get to sleep until 1am because they were answering emails or preparing for conference calls, yeah, there’s none of that in fitness.
You go to work, start your shift, end your shift and go home to relax. That’s it! If you want to, (and it’s probably a good idea to) you can spend your free time learning more about the body or completing courses to expand your knowledge to be able to move onto the next rung of the fitness career ladder, but it’s totally your choice.
Once you leave your shift, your free time is yours to do what you want with, there’s very little worry or sleepless nights, you’ll have none of the worries of classic office-based roles. It’s really pretty chilled out.
As a personal trainer, you will have a little more work to take home with you (writing up exercise programs for your clients, etc), but as a fitness instructor, you are allowed to use the time you are paid to be in the gym to do this.
What are the benefits of being a fitness trainer?
Hopefully, the full list of reasons I have given you above will at least to start to answer this question, but here are a few benefits that I felt I gained whilst being a fitness trainer.
- It’s really sociable – The team of fitness instructors and personal trainers I worked with were all really great people. We had a lot of fun together and I made friends with people that I still speak to nearly a decade later. Not only were the trainers and instructors great, but I made a whole bunch of friends with the gym members that I used to train and teach.
- It keeps you in great shape – You are constantly on the move whilst working as a trainer, you’re either training a member, teaching a class, or cleaning. I can honestly say that in a full eight-hour shift, I might have sat down for about twenty minutes. It’s almost impossible to be a fitness trainer and not get yourself in pretty great shape, just from the amount of movement you are doing.
- You’ll learn how to communicate – Speaking to people was never one of my strong points, I used to get shy and not know what to say during a silence, but after teaching classes and needing to raise my voice so a busy gym could still hear my instruction, my shyness very quickly went away.
I also go great at making small talk so I and the gym member had something to discuss between sets, there’s nothing worse than sitting in silence looking at each other, so you’ll very quickly get good at striking up a conversation.
- It’s a great stepping stone into the industry – You learn a good amount about the fitness industry from your training courses, but it’s only once you’re in a gym for eight hours a day that you really start t learn. People asking you questions about fitness all the time means you need to learn how to answer them, and personal trainers giving pointers and explaining complex issues based on exercise will really accelerate the speed at which you learn about fitness.
I’m really glad that I was a fitness instrcutor before I went into personal training because I really don’t feel like I would have been prepared to start working as a full-time PT with the information I had been given on my training courses.
Why did I love being a fitness instructor?
I loved being a fitness instructor because I was never bored, in all the time that I had worked as one, I had never once gone home and thought “that was a boring day”. There’s always so much to do and always new people to meet.
I get bored fairly easily, so meeting new people each day and always learning new classes and new ways of training people as well as myself was really entertaining for me.
I’m one of these people that doesn’t just want a job to get a paycheque at the end of the month, I want to enjoy what I do each day, and helping people get fit and have a great time whilst doing it was certainly something I could enjoy.
I really liked seeing how hard I could make a class of members work and how happy all the members I spoke to were. If I could, I’d always try and inject a little humor into classes or even when I was giving gym inductions. I know people get nervous around gyms, and they can be intimidating places, so I loved making people I could clearly see were nervous as comfortable as possible, whilst making it obvious that I was a friendly person they could come and talk to if they needed.
I was given a lot of responsibility during my time as a fitness instructor, which was something that was pretty new to me. I was solely responsible for opening and closing the gym and making sure all the tills were correct all night.
At first, I didn’t really like this, but I quickly realised that I was gaining a lot of independence and really building my confidence up quickly. In terms of self-development, this was actually a pretty big deal for me and something I’d never experienced before.
And last but not least, I got to work out as much as I wanted each day, For FREE!
I could train before my shift, I was exercising constantly during my shift and if I wanted to I could work out afterward too. I was getting in great shape, AND I was getting paid to do it, that’s a pretty good reason to enjoy your job if you ask me.
Working in fitness is a great career choice, it’s fun, it’s fairly simple at the start and it’s really not that stressful. You will get a ton of exercise each day just from the amount of walking you will be doing and you get to help people every day which is a really great feeling.
Of course, I have missed out on the most obvious perk of working in a gym which is that you get a free gym pass, no more paying for that! Now you can focus on getting shredded before or after work. That’s pretty convenient.
If you were wondering why someone would want to become a fitness instructor, I hope these points will have helped answer that question for you and maybe even inspired you to give it a go yourself.
Either way, I hope you have a great day and have enjoyed this article.
Go get ’em!
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